Calling All Designers!

May 29
2009
Calling All Designers!

I am currently in the process of writing a blog about how clients change their mind during a project development and as a result the end website looks nothing like the original design and I need YOUR help.

If you can send me (via email or Skype) a sample JPG of a website you designed along with the URL of the finished website (or a screenshot if it’s no longer live) along with your comments/notes etc… I’ll include it into my blog post with suitable accreditation.

Spam Post of the Week

May 15
2009
Spam Post of the Week

Received a new spam message in my mail this morning. Now, thanks to Google Enterprise and G-Apps, I very rarely actually see spam messages in my inbox, but this one got though and made me chuckle, so I thought I’d post it here (after finally getting my blog ressurected again!)

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Extending your SOHO setup : USB, Firewire or NAS?

Oct 20
2008
Extending your SOHO setup : USB, Firewire or NAS?

A question came through on one of my many freelancing mailing lists the other day about expanding a home network and which way to go.

With the various replies and comments that came through, I thought I’d flesh something out in a blog post for others to read. Inevitably, every freelancer or SOHO worker will need to look to expand their network in terms of storage.

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21st Century Digerati

Oct 15
2008
21st Century Digerati

I was thinking earlier today about the previously published ‘digerati’ list (circa 1996) and how they’ve shaped IT/Internet/Computing in the last however many years.

Then I wondered whether it would be interesting to ‘update’ this list based on events of the last decade and nominate some others into the stratos of ‘digerati’ status?

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Blog Action Day 08

Oct 15
2008
Blog Action Day 08

Today is Blog Action Day.

Today, Everyone across the internet are focusing their posts and energies on one topic today : POVERTY.

The goals are a simple one : Awareness, Action and Change.

I’m not going to pretend that I understand poverty. I have never experienced it. I’ve never been hungry for more than a few hours (if that), I have never been put in the situation where I am too hot, too wet, too cold, too tired and been powerless to rectify it.

When I am sick, I have come to *expect* healthcare and when I’m down I have my group of friends and family around to get me through it and pull me out the otherside.

So, whats the point of this blog? What I’m doing is contributing to bring awareness to the world.

Nothing Else…. it’s a simple one really.

Hopefully I haven’t missed the point of Blog Action Day ’08 – Apologies if I have.

The Dark Art of Accurate Project Pricing

Oct 14
2008
The Dark Art of Accurate Project Pricing

Is it me or is accurate project pricing a bit of a dark art?

When I price a job, I base it on how long I *expect* the job to take, adding in variables which I may forsee and then multiply that by my base rate and voila!

I have to be honest, 90% of the time, it works out pretty well with jobs completing on or near budget – however, that 10% of the time always ends up costing me money/time not accounted for.

I’m sure I’m not alone.

I’ve tried to break down where the problems could lie and came up with the following:

  • Client Misunderstanding
  • Lack of Technical Documentation (API’s etc)
  • Lack of Client Support

How do other people deal with pricing? Do you price the 90% of the jobs a little higher to compensate for the 10% that take longer than expected? Or do you take it on the chin and try to minimise those 10% clients?

Neither option seems fair and will inevitably end up costing someone.

I’d be interested to hear how other people handle this.

Facebook Connect – The end of OpenID/oAuth?

Oct 13
2008
Facebook Connect – The end of OpenID/oAuth?

One of the many talks at FOWA (Future of Web-Apps) last week covered the subject of OpenID/oAuth.

As someone who pretty much builds membership modules into every website I build, OpenID has always intrigued me, but never enough to warrant dipping my toe in.

The problem, I’ve always justified to myself, is that the type of clients that use the websites that I build and relative computer novices – most are press/media types who log in for information and/or images and then they’re off again. The thought of them having to use an OpenID (or even understanding what it was) would scare them away. Simply not good for me or the client.

So, it really opened my eyes on Friday, when Dave Morin of Facebook.com announced the Facebook Connect API, which allows web developers to connect users and their facebook profiles to remote websites and even publish content on users newsfeed!

Whether you love it or loathe it, it’s safe to say that facebook is not going anywhere soon. The idea that I can tap into the vast resource and information about users to profile my sites around them, is an awesome concept.

I’m a regular facebooker and I know that most of my clients userbase will be. Therefore, a central authentication system where they can sign-in using their facebook credentials and all other fields are pre-populated from the information they’ve already given is going to add immense value to sites!

Owners are now able to open their sites to the connected world of facebook – users are able to publish stories, articles and images from their websites direct to the front page of the facebook newsfeed increasing site exposure significantly!

Due to the fact that facebook represents our ‘online identity’, visitors are able to provide much more accurate information, further enhancing their online experience on these ‘socially connected websites’.

Since facebook is used to stay in touch with friends and families, the facebook connect system now allows them to take their friends and families with them when they surf ‘connected’ websites by keeping them informed of what they’ve seen and liked.

The security and privacy settings they set within facebook are still adhered to and follow the user through to their experience on these ‘connected’ websites.

The next membership-based site that I build, I will certainly try to persuade the client to venture into a Facebook Connect environment and see what happens… stay tuned!

information about Facebook Connect is available from here

New Blog, New Era

Oct 13
2008
New Blog, New Era

After such inspirational talks at FOWA (Future of Web-Apps), I’ve decided to finally get myself into gear and set up a personal blog to write about the many thoughts I have about all types of things.

I wouldn’t hope for much – I’m not a brilliant writer to be honest, but hopefully I’ll be able to write one or two gems.

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